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Saturday, July 6, 2013

July 6, 2013: 1 Meal Down...101 to Go!

Today was a crazy day, although it's tough to tell where yesterday ended and today began. I guess it was somewhere up around 40,000 feet in the air. We had two successful flights. Boston to Zurich was uneventful and kind of relaxing, and then we had about a two hour layover in Switzerland. That's the problem with layovers in cool places- you can't leave the airport and explore! The flight from Zurich was just about an hour hop to Florence. After crossing my fingers for the entire flight, ALL of our luggage showed up right away. This was an unbelievable experience compared to the last time I was in Italy with the URI Concert Choir, and not having luggage for three days!

We took a "death cab" ride over to our apartment, and Cesare (from the apartment management company) was here to meet us. He showed us around, explained everything, and helped us get acclimated. Once he left, Mike and I just looked at each other and laughed. "This is where we live now" was a thought that just couldn't take the smiles off our faces. We quickly unpacked, showered, and hit the streets.

I immediately was overjoyed to see gorgeous Piazza Santa Croce. It looks exactly the same, and feels the same. Although, it's different to walk these streets without the NECA students who I bonded with on my first trip out here. Mike and I hiked up the (long) trail to Piazzale Michelangiolo, and he kept his promise to not look north until I told him so. The sight is breathtaking, and almost makes your heart stop. We then walked up even more to one of the oldest churches in Tuscany that dates back to the 13th century, San Miniato al Monte. Oh, we even crashed a gorgeous wedding there today. :-)

We then walked west, down to the river, and headed over to Piazza Santo Spirito. It's a simple, quiet, lovely square with a lot of restaurants and beautiful sights. We ate dinner at Ristorante I Ricchi. We split a Caprese salad, and dove into the bread, salt, and olive oil. I had Tartelli de Ricchi, and Mike ordered a veggie Margherita pizza. On our way over to Santo Spirito, we just happened to walk by a restaurant that was recommended by Pete Sexauer called Casalinga. I was so surprised to just see it right in front of us. We were sad to see that it was closed on Saturdays and Sundays, but it's definitely a spot that will be prioritized next week. We were stuffed, but that didn't stop us from ordering gelato cones from Bar Ponte Vecchio, which houses some of the most photographable ice cream I've ever seen in the world. We walked along the Ponte Vecchio and noticed that a crowd had gathered in the center of the bridge. A guitarist was singing a mini concert, and it just set the mood for a perfect first night in bella Firenze. Mike was glad to know that the inside of the Ponte Vecchio is incredibly beautiful, because he noted that the outside isn't something extremely special. I pointed out that you fall in love with the outside of the bridge after you see what is inside.

I hope that you enjoy the pictures! Check back tomorrow, as we're going to be exploring Florence much more. I'll be starting my day off with a nice long run on the Arno River (Fiume Arno).

Wedding Crashers! Rule number 1...

San Miniato al Monte

San Miniato al Monte from afar

Pete's recommendation! Gorgeous curtain.

Caprese salad with panne e olio

Tartelli de Ricchi

Santo Spirito Church, Florence

Gelato at Bar Ponte Vecchio

One of my favorite flavors: Stracciatella!

Concert on the Ponte Vecchio

Gorgeous stores on Ponte Vecchio, "The Old Bridge"

Get ready for a lot of bridge pictures!

The corridor on top is actually part of the Uffizi Gallery, the museum requested by the Medici family in 1581. The Uffizi was built adjacent to the Medici palace and extended over the Arno River. It was originally supposed to host meetings and offices, but now it is home to masterpieces of the collection that is rarely seen by the public.

Arno River at night.

One more Ponte Vecchio pic!

In honor of our dear friend, Katie Papini Backus! Thought she'd love that she's on the Ponte Vecchio.

Cypress garden in memoriam of soldiers lost in WWI and WWII.

History of San Miniato e Palazzo dei Vescovi

Overlooking Florence

Gates over looking Florence, at the bottom of the staircase to San Miniato

Belle Firenze!

He didn't look! :)

Inside San Miniato al Monte. Buried outside are many important Italians, one of them being Carlo Collodi, author of "Pinocchio."

This was a beautiful sight to see, inside San Miniato al Monte
Buona serata,



  1. It seems like you did a lot on your first day. I love the Italian history. Dad and Jill are jealous of the gelato pictures. Your photos are beautiful.


    1. Love you, Mom! We are having a great time, and it's going fast! Plans to see Francesco, Loredana, and the twins tomorrow. Buona serrata!

  2. I am looking forward to spending the next month living vicariously through you! Florence is my favorite Italian city... it would be my favorite European city if Edinburgh didn't claim that title. Have so much fun and I can't wait to read the next posts!

  3. Alley,

    Jena, who I don't even know, said exactly what I was thinking including the reference to Edinburgh! I'm enjoying your words as well as the amazing photos. Your meals, including the gelato are certainly mouth watering. I've definitely got another city and country on my bucket list!


  4. I'm glad that you are enjoying the blog! Absolutely put this city on the top of your list. I feel so blessed to have been able to come on this trip, and consider each day to be extremely important and cherished!